Saturday, 26 November 2011

HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

If you read my last blog, you'll know I'm a fan of HIIT.  Often time is of the escence in these hectic days in which we live, so a quick workout done in less time is just what you need.

So what is HIIT?  Well its a form of cardio exercise (and not the slow steady boring kind either).  It involves intervals of varying intensities, with some intervals quite high.  But don't worry HIIT is not just for athletes, it can be adapted for beginners and unconditioned individuals too. 

A typical HIIT session involves several bursts of 'all out' training, which should feel challenging, followed by periods of lower intensity which is your active recovery.  This means your body can recover somewhat before your next interval.  And of course the big plus is that your creating that EPOC effect (see previous blog). 

Below is a HIIT programme you could use for example on the treadmill, which of course can also be performed outside. It could also be used on the rower, bike, X-Trainer or Stepper.

A typical HIIT session for a beginner is as follows;

4 - 8 x 20 / 30 second intervals with 90 seconds active recovery (walking) in between each interval.

A typical HIIT session for an intermediate user is as follows;

8 - 10 x 30 second intervals with 60 seconds active recovery (walk or light jog) in between each interval.

A typical HIIT session for an advanced user is as follows;

10 - 12 x 30 second intervals with 20 / 30 seconds active recovery (jog) in between each interval.

Of course it is very dependant on fitness levels, age, contraindications etc.  I'm not suggesting an overweight, unconditioned individual necessarily run, walking at a pace where they are breathing a little hard may be more appropriate.  Please be sensible.

Here's an example of a HIIT bodyweight workout, use the same recovery periods as above;

Interval - Rope skipping or shuffle
Recovery - squats

Simple, both exercises utilising the legs, and the skipping or shuffles if can't skip will also increase heart rate.  Give it a go and let me know your results :)

Please take advice from a professional (like myself) before attempting these intervals if you are in any doubt whatsoever.

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